The Rwandan community in Ghana, friends of Rwanda joined by several officials have held an online Kwibuka 26 event where they reminded the need for everyone, including the international community to prevent the Genocide from happening again in Rwanda or in any part of the world.
The event was largely characterized by strong messages on Rwanda’s resilience twenty-six years after the atrocities of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi where more than one million Tutsi perished in three consecutive months from April through June.
Dr. Aisa Kirabo Kacyira, the High Commissioner of Rwanda in Ghana thanked everyone who stood with Rwandans as they pay tribute to the victims of the Genocide amidst the challenge of COVID-19 pandemic.
“Time has not deemed the memory of our loved ones. It has instead given us more resolve to live up the values they cherished and aspired to achieve,” the high commissioner said.
She as well paid tribute to the Genocide survivors saying: “for it is through your willingness to forgive and move on that enabled us all as Rwandans, to embrace unity and reconciliation.”
Dr. Kirabo, however, says that this path would not have been possible without the able, people-centered and purposeful leadership of President Paul Kagame.
She paid tribute to the army that stopped the Genocide, the Rwanda Patriotic Army(RPA) Inkotanyi, which was the army wing of the Rwanda Patriotic Front(RPF) Inkotanyi.
She said that under the leadership of Kagame, they “singlehandedly stopped the Genocide as the International community looked on.”
“To this young men and women who sacrificed their lives to undertake an almost insurmountable task and against all odds stopped the Genocide and liberated the country some paying the ultimate price, we shall never forget you.”
Dr Kirabo said, the country while paying tribute to the genocide victims, reflects on the dark history, takes a lesson from it, and forges a better future to ensure that the Genocide does not happen again.
To the UN, Dr. Kirabo recommended heeding to resolutions on Genocide denial, to prevent future genocide from happening again.
That also goes hand in hand with requesting countries that have given safe haven to Genocide perpetrators to prosecute them.
She said that Rwanda has chosen “to learn from, and not being defined by our Past.”
The diplomatic corps was represented by Claudia Turbay Quintero, the Ambassador of the Republic of Columbia in Ghana and Dean of Diplomatic Corps.
She also believes that Rwanda’s resilience was achieved thanks to the good leadership at the helm, President Paul Kagame.
“We want to pay tribute and honor those who lost their lives in the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi and at the same time commend the leadership of Paul Kagame who has been able to call his people to embrace the unity and reconciliation as a way to uplift the country from that tragic history and to inclusive social-economic transformation,” she said.
Believing that Rwanda has something to teach the world owing to their tragic past, she said:
“The lesson learnt and given by the Rwandan people and the experience has shown that a great country and every state has an obligation to respect human rights.”
For Dr. Vladmir Antwi Danso, Professor of International Relations and a friend of Rwanda, plan to exterminate the Tutsi started way earlier in 1959 and it culminated into the worst tragedy of the 20th century.
The academician who is also historian said that Rwanda stopped the Genocide as the international community was looking on, but the country managed to overcome the challenges that accompanied the tragedy.
A regular visitor to Rwanda, Antwi Danso has noticed steady development, to an extent that he tends to forget that Rwanda was, 26 years ago, reduced to ash.
Rwandans again, owe this to good leadership that prioritized unity and reconciliation on top of everything among its daughters and sons.
“The Rwandan people are now one, you don’t see a Tutsi, you don’t see a Hutu, and all thanks to the able leadership of Paul Kagame,” he said.
We don’t have grandparents-Testimony
Two young students from the Rwandan community in Ghana that were born from the Genocide survivors after the tragedy was stopped by RPF shared their testimonies and their challenges of not having ancestors.
“I am a post-Genocide child who everyday lives with its lasting wounds. I grew up in a generation without grandparents to tell us stories that were left behind by our ancestors,” said Farah Gafaranga adding that she shares this challenge with a few relatives that were also orphaned by the Genocide.
Gafaranga believes that she shares responsibility with her generation to fight the Genocide.
“As a young generation, we shall not tolerate anybody who belittles Genocide against Tutsi,” she said.
“It is our responsibility to remember, unite, renew as we join hands and forces together to say, and put in action never again.”
Another testimony was from Liza Princess Ikirezi, who also lost families during the Genocide.
“Some of these families were wiped out. I am their voice. We remember all the Tutsi that were taken away during the 1994 Genocide. We remember them for the lives they lived, for the love they shared, for their dreams and talents, for their heroism and love for the country,” she said.
“To the survivors of the Genocide against Tutsi, in 1994 your resilience is a strong foundation our country builds on. We live because you live. Komera.”
For the post-genocide generation, she said it is their duty to prevent the Genocide from happening again.
“Tomorrow’s narrative of the Genocide against Tutsi will depend on how much you have learned from our parents who survived the Genocide against Tutsi. Let’s Remember, Unite Renew,” said Ikirezi.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of the Republic of Ghana joined Rwandans in Kwibuka26.
Part of its message reads that the greatest hommage they can pay to the victims of the dark episode, “is to stand together and renew our pledge that, by the grace of God and our common will, never again shall we allow humanity to perpetrate such gruesome evil against humankind.”